Best Day Hikes In California You Shouldn’t Miss

Best Day Hikes In California You Shouldn’t Miss

Hiking in Califonia

Thinking about spending a full day in the Golden State but not sure where to go? Here’s a list of the best day hikes in California that’ll get you closer to nature. These locations make good elevation gain. 

Nestled between the dramatic Pacific Ocean in the west and majestic mountain ranges in the east, California is a beautiful state with plenty of outdoor activities. From the towering sequoias of Redwood National Park to the lush forests of Yosemite, California is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking and eye-popping hikes.

But what if you don’t have much time and are only here for a weekend? Or what if you want to explore more than just some significant sites? Well, we’ve got you covered! We’ve compiled all our favourite hikes in California into one convenient guide so that you can explore them all. Let’s get started!

Best Day Trekks In California

Here are some of the best day treks in California:

Boy Scout Tree Trail

Boy Scout Tree Trail

The Boy Scout Tree Trail is a short but scenic hike in the heart of Redwood State Park. It takes you through some of the most majestic redwoods in northern California.

The trail starts at the park headquarters and heads up into the forest. It winds through groves of towering trees before reaching an overlook with a view of Nickerson Ranch Trail.

As you walk along the trail, you will pass by several old-growth redwood trees that are hundreds of years old. They cut down several large stumps during logging operations in the area. Some of these stumps have been hollowed out and turned into benches so hikers can sit and enjoy nature while resting on their journey through this beautiful forest.

Once you’ve crossed these spruced trees, you’ll descend into the Valley of Giants and walk along a dirt road as you make your way to the trail’s endpoint at Fern Falls. This portion of the hike is relatively flat, so getting lazy and taking the sights around you is easy.

With a round distance of 5.3 miles, this hiking trail is not too long, but it is a moderate hike that takes around 3 hours to complete. There are some steep sections along the way, so you should be prepared if you plan to hike this trail.

Fern Canyon Trail

Fern Canyon Trail

Fern Canyon Trail in Redwood National Park is an excellent option if you’re looking for a short trail only about a mile long. This trail is located just off the Prairie Creek Visitor Center Road and features cobbled stream beds, lush ferns, and beautiful moss-covered rock formations. While you won’t be able to see as many redwoods on this trail as you can on others, you can enjoy the lush Sitka spruce and other conifers.

Once you cross the bridge, you’ll come to a sign that marks the start of the trail. From there, it’s just a few hundred feet up to the first viewpoint, and you’ll see a small waterfall and some lush ferns. From this point on, the trail is straightforward and flat. The best time to visit this spot is summer when temperatures are more relaxed. While it’s true that the path is easy to traverse, it’s also very muddy. Because of this reason, a wooden footbridge is installed on the trail. This footbridge prevents hikers from getting wet and keeps them safer as they cross over a small stream that runs down the hillside.

It is also worth mentioning that the road is highly muddy along Davison Road. So, large vehicles don’t have any place to pass through. As a result, hikers should be prepared for the possibility of being stuck on the road. This is especially true during the winter when more snow and ice are on the ground. Talking about vehicles, if you plan on covering the trail on foot, you can park your car at the California State Park Entrance kiosk for as little as $12.

Lassen Peak Trail

Lassen Peak Trail

For those who want to explore mountains and volcanoes, the Lassen Peak Trail is an excellent hike in the summer. The trail begins at Manzanita Lake, also home to a campground. You will follow a dirt road for about 1 mile from there before reaching the trailhead. The trail itself is relatively easy, with only a few steep sections. It’s about 5.1 miles to the summit, though you can also turn around before reaching it. Speaking of lakes, you can also find Lake Tahoe interesting to visit.

During hiking, you will climb through some beautiful rare alpine plants, view snow patches, and come across rock formations before reaching Lassen Peak. Once you get there, you’ll be treated to views of the surrounding peaks in all directions. The trail is open throughout the year, so you can plan your trip accordingly. You may need to bring snowshoes or cross-country skis if you go in the winter months.

Big Sur Trails In Andrew Molera State Park

Big Sur Trails in Andrew Molera State Park

Want to have a real fairytale experience? Then, head to Big Sur, where you’ll find some of California’s most beautiful and scenic trails. You’ll see beautiful coast redwoods, stunning views, and waterfalls that will make you want to stay there forever. One of the best things about Big Sur is that it’s full of hiking trails. You can choose between the Beach Trail, which features a breathtaking ocean view and bay area, and the Creamy Meadows Trails, which are perfect for nature lovers.

If you want to enjoy jaw-dropping coastal views and stunning vistas, then the Panorama Trail, Bluff Trail, and Ridge Trail are the best options. They offer breathtaking ocean views, making you feel like you’re floating in the air.

The best time to visit Big Sur is during summer, as it’s the warmest season. During this time of year, temperatures can range from 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning to 80 degrees by midday. The weather is also perfect for hiking and exploring the coastlines.

Yosemite Falls Trails

Yosemite Falls Trails

Yosemite National Park is one of Southern California’s most famous parks; millions of people visit this park every year. Although the park has different hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, if you’re looking for a day hike, head to Yosemite Falls Trails. With soaring granite to gushing waterfalls, this 1-mile long hiking trail is a treat to the eyes. And don’t confuse it with any other waterfall. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, which is 2,700 feet tall!

Along the way, you can stop at the Swinging Bridge to enjoy the panoramic view of Yosemite Valley. You can see a rainbow over this waterfall if you are lucky enough. It is because the sunlight reflects off the mist coming from the falls.

For those who want to get up close and personal with nature’s splendour, there’s a Winona Stable just down the road. This stable offers horseback riding tours that last for 1-2 hours. You can ride along a trail leading to some of the most picturesque parts of Yosemite National Park. The tour guides are amiable and informative. Also, they’ll tell you all about Yosemite’s history and geology while showing off the flora and fauna around them.

You might think this is a great place to visit if you want to escape it all. But no, Yosemite National Park offers much more than just camping and horseback riding. You can spend a cosy morning at Mariposa County Bed and Breakfast. And after enjoying a hearty breakfast, you can walk around the property and enjoy the beautiful gardens. There are different old cabins on this trail with gorgeous mountain views. So make sure to bring your camera along with you.

Summing Up

When you think of the Golden State, you probably think of the beach. But there’s so much more to this diverse state. From the mountains and forests of Yosemite to the arid desert of Death Valley, you’ll never run out of new places to explore. Marin County is also a fun place to explore. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an expert hiker or just starting; there’s something for every skill level. So get out there and start exploring!


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